Jeff Hammond: Why teams won’t use their testing car in the 500
Some of the teams last week at testing in Daytona actually didn’t bring the car they will run in the Daytona 500 on Feb. 23 on FOX. The answer as to why they wouldn’t do that has to do with how good these teams have gotten at building these race cars.
With the utilization of the all the simulations — whether it’s the pull-down rig or the chassis dyno, wind tunnel information or whatever else that they can gain information from — they feel very, very confident in being able to replicate it on the actual Daytona 500 car.
Crew chiefs and team members will tell you that it is easier to build new information into a new car instead of going back and trying to build it back into an existing car. It goes back to a belief or, again, a real confidence that the car they build next will be the best car they’ve ever built for the Daytona 500. There is simply a lot less variance or difference in the cars they build today than what we used to build "back in the day."
Look at it another way. They’ve all had a full season of building these cars — especially the ones for Daytona and Talladega. NASCAR even added spoiler to this year’s restrictor plate package, and yet the cars are running even faster. I think that speaks volumes as to what the teams have been able to accomplish and what we can expect out of 2014 Daytona Speedweeks.